Careless Toward Convention

“When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.’ So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.’” – Luke 19:5,6 Yesterday, we learned about a stubby tax collector named Zacchaeus and how he went to great lengths to see Jesus. Today, I want to examine the Lord’s unconventional response to his effort. Though he was a member of a hated and immoral profession and was held in low esteem because of his short stature, Jesus stopped right under the tree into which he had climbed. Rather than reprimand or judge him, He instructed him to come down, because He was going over to his house that very day! This was shocking not only because of who he was, but also because Jews typically didn’t invite themselves to the home of another, especially one who

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Stand For What’s Right

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” – Ephesians 1:1,2 If you’ve listened to me for any length of time, you know that I love history, especially because I believe it completes our understanding of the Scriptures. That said, many of us are familiar with the book of Ephesians — which Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus — but we may not know the story behind it. Ephesus, which was labeled the crown jewel of the Roman Empire, was home to the temple of Artemis, the Greek goddess of hunting and nature. Considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the temple was not only elaborate and beautiful, it was also a hub of commerce. It housed offerings

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Don’t Fit the Mold

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2 God did not create you to fit, follow, or fold into society, but rather to reflect His beloved Son, Jesus. In Greek mythology, there’s a villain named Procrustes, who was said to reside on the mountain pass of the sacred road to Athens. Legend has it that he would invite travelers to stay at his inn, where he offered them a one-size-fits-all bed. However, since nobody seemed to be just the right size for his accommodations, he would work hard to make them fit. If they were too tall, he’d chop off their legs, and if they were too short, he’d stretch out their limbs. The problem was that in trying

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A Prospering Soul

“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” – 3 John 2 Years ago, Hannah and I had the privilege of receiving a private tour of the Holy Land led by a guy named Roni Winter. To us, he was like a Jewish Indiana Jones — he’s an archeologist and a historian — and he had an incredible amount of knowledge about the region. One day of our trip, he took us to some amazing ruins called Beit Shean. As we walked around what was once a thriving Roman city, he painted a picture of the immense beauty and grandeur that characterized this place when it was in its prime. Then, he looked at us and inquired, “Do you want to know why the Roman Empire fell?” and he said, “Follow me.”

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